26 December 2013

Books: The Infernals by John Connolly (2011)

"Samuel Johnson is in trouble. Not only is he in love with the wrong girl, but the demon Mrs. Abernathy is seeking revenge on him for his part in foiling the invasion of Earth by the forces of evil. She wants to get her claws on Samuel, and when Samuel and his faithful dachshund, Boswell, are pulled through a portal into the dark realm, she gets her chance."

Why this book is called The Infernals is beyond me. While there are such creatures in this second Samuel Johnson book, they really don’t play too much into the plot –Mrs. Abernathy is using their help to bring her back into the good graces of the Great Malevolence. The original UK title was Hell’s Bells, and I’m curious as to why the US publisher changed the title. Of course, it probably has to deal with the word Hell in the title of a YA novel. The Puritan Americans or those One Million Mom nutcases would probably go off on some tangent if a book geared to “impressionable” young people had a title such as Hell’s Bells

Then again, I think folks outside the United States think Americans are simple minded folks who never grasped the concept of satire. And they’re probably right.

Anyways, Samuel and his dachshund Boswell are pulled into Hell by Mrs. Abernathy, who also manages to open a portal from her (it?) Multiverse to ours. The only thing is, she also snags two police officers, an ice cream man and his truck and four antisocial dwarves –Connolly’s Magnificent Seven? This time, the book takes on a quest like saga, with Samuel traveling through Hell in search of way back to his own dimension, meeting along the way all sorts of demons, damned souls and what not. Meanwhile, Nurd, Wormwood and the Aston-Martin used to close the doorway between worlds are back, and we learn there is an emotional connection between the demon and Samuel and Nurd sets out save Samuel from Mrs. Abernathy. 

Once again Connolly sums up his dry wit and ability to handle multiple plots (which, for a book marketed towards younger adults, might be a bit troublesome) along with talking about time travel and other aspects of the Multiverse –and yes, the footnotes come back as well.

While the Samuel Johnson books are an easy read, that should not be taken as a fault. They’re entertaining and that is what is more important. Adults and kids will simply find the tale of good versus evil given a nice twist. Now The Creeps beckon.  

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